Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Musings of a Grad Student: Officially a Second Year Student

I am now in my third semester on my way to becoming a librarian. Here's a list of classes I'm taking:

  • Organizational Management: Survey of management issues common to all information environments--understanding organizations, decision making, hiring and personnel, grant writing, and marketing.
  •  Beginning Cataloging and Classification: Systems for describing materials and information in catalogs and organizing them for effective retrieval in libraries, museums, and other information centers; AACR2 descriptive principles, Dewey and Library of Congress classifications, Sears and LC subject headings, cataloging networks and services. 
  • Literacy and Learning: Learning and literacy theory relevant to work in information services; how librarians can help people process information and use it to form understanding and create new knowledge.
             Course descriptions taken from my school's website.

I agonized over what courses to take this semester as there were so many good ones offered. Organizational Management is a required course and so far I think very worthwhile. I feel like much of what I learned in Research Methods last semester is beginning to make more sense as we actually write proposals and create surveys. 

A part of me really wanted to take "Resources for Children" and a topics course on archives/preservation but I knew I wanted to take Literacy and Learning. It was recommended by a recently graduated student and I am enjoying the course. The readings are very theoretical but about important educational issues like convergence culture the nature of research strategies and assignments. Class discussion is very interesting and makes me think about what role public libraries play in supporting literacy and learning.

The cataloging class was a last minute decision and while reading rules from AACR2 (Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules, Second Edition) is not the most exciting thing, I do feel I'm learning very useful information that will help me as a librarian some day even if I do not actually do the cataloging. Main entries, the chief source of information, subject headings -- all good things to know about when working in a library.

In addition to classes, I am still working at my public library as the Children's Department intern. I'm hosting Wii Gaming once a week and, about once a month or so, do a storytime. There are lots of little projects to keep me busy otherwise and I'm enjoying working with veteran children's librarians. I even got to order some books for our paperback collection! That was fun! 

Are/were you a LIS student? What are the most valuable courses you took? Thinking about being a librarian? Feel free to ask questions!


  1. Hi! I got my MLIS about 6 years ago. When I was in school, Cataloging was required and although I chose not to become a cataloger, I was grateful for the class because it not only meant that I understand MARC records, but I really appreciate those people who are catalogers! :)

    Good luck with your classes!

  2. Hi, Jo and thanks for the comment! Cataloging is not a required course and cataloging jobs are dwindling. Yet, cataloging and classification is still very relevant to what librarians do... so, I'm torn on whether it should be required. Things are changing and it's hard to know what knowledge base/skills are needed the most!

  3. Cataloging, for me, was the most stressful course. Not because of how it was taught, but just the sheer amount of analysis and details was a bit overwhelming for me. One of my ongoing projects at my part-time public library job is to review our nonfiction collection and re-catalog them if they are needed.

    As for most beneficial? I absolutely loved my information literacy courses. I really gained a new perspective on how people really don't know how to search for information and give up so easily on their search if they don't find the answers they want right away. I also loved my reference class which was taught like a scavenger hunt. Of course I also loved the children and YA information resource courses too.